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"CNET Networks" redirects here. CNET_sentence_0

For the successor online media company, see CBS Interactive. CNET_sentence_1

"" redirects here. CNET_sentence_2

For the Australian news website, see CNET_sentence_3

For Centre National d'Études des Télécommunications (CNET), the research and development centre of France Télécom, see France Télécom and Centre national d'études des télécommunications. CNET_sentence_4


Type of siteCNET_header_cell_0_0_0 Technology, newsCNET_cell_0_0_1
OwnerCNET_header_cell_0_1_0 Red VenturesCNET_cell_0_1_1
Created byCNET_header_cell_0_2_0 Halsey Minor
Shelby BonnieCNET_cell_0_2_1
EditorCNET_header_cell_0_3_0 Lindsey Turrentine
Connie GuglielmoCNET_cell_0_3_1
IndustryCNET_header_cell_0_4_0 JournalismCNET_cell_0_4_1
URLCNET_header_cell_0_5_0 CNET_cell_0_5_1
CommercialCNET_header_cell_0_6_0 YesCNET_cell_0_6_1
RegistrationCNET_header_cell_0_7_0 OptionalCNET_cell_0_7_1
LaunchedCNET_header_cell_0_8_0 March 5, 1994; 26 years ago (1994-03-05)CNET_cell_0_8_1
Current statusCNET_header_cell_0_9_0 OnlineCNET_cell_0_9_1

CNET (short for Computer Network) is an American media website that publishes reviews, news, articles, blogs, podcasts, and videos on technology and consumer electronics globally, owned by Red Ventures since 2020. CNET_sentence_5

Founded in 1994 by Halsey Minor and Shelby Bonnie, it was the flagship brand of CNET Networks and became a brand of CBS Interactive through that unit's acquisition of CNET Networks in 2008, which was the previous owner prior to October 30, 2020. CNET_sentence_6

CNET originally produced content for radio and television in addition to its website and now uses new media distribution methods through its Internet television network, CNET Video, and its podcast and blog networks. CNET_sentence_7

In addition, CNET currently has region-specific and language-specific editions. CNET_sentence_8

These include Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Korean, and Spanish. CNET_sentence_9

History CNET_section_0

Origins CNET_section_1

In 1994, with the help from Fox Network co-founder Kevin Wendle and former Disney creative associate Dan Baker, CNET produced four pilot television programs about computers, technology, and the Internet. CNET_sentence_10

CNET TV was composed of CNET Central, The Web, and The New Edge. CNET_sentence_11

CNET Central was created first and aired in syndication in the United States on the USA Network. CNET_sentence_12

Later, it began airing on USA's sister network Sci-Fi Channel along with The Web and The New Edge. CNET_sentence_13

These were later followed by in 1996. CNET_sentence_14

Current American Idol host Ryan Seacrest first came to national prominence at CNET, as the host of The New Edge and doing various voice-over work for CNET. CNET_sentence_15

In addition, CNET produced another television technology news program called that aired on CNBC beginning in 1999. CNET_sentence_16

From 2001 to 2003, CNET operated CNET Radio on the Clear Channel-owned KNEW (910) in the San Francisco Bay Area, WBPS (890) in Boston, and XM Satellite Radio. CNET_sentence_17

CNET Radio offered technology-themed programming. CNET_sentence_18

After failing to attract a sufficient audience, CNET Radio ceased operating in January 2003 due to financial losses. CNET_sentence_19

Acquisitions and expansions CNET_section_2

As CNET Networks, the site made various acquisitions to expand its reach across various web platforms, regions, and markets. CNET_sentence_20

In July 1999, CNET acquired the Swiss-based company GDT. CNET_sentence_21

GDT was later renamed to CNET Channel. CNET_sentence_22

In 1998, CNET granted the right to to set up CNET Asia and the operation was brought back in December 2000. CNET_sentence_23

In January 2000, the same time CNET became CNET Networks, they acquired comparison shopping site mySimon for $736 million. CNET_sentence_24

In October 2000, CNET Networks acquired ZDNet for approximately $1.6 billion. CNET_sentence_25

In January 2001, Ziff Davis Media, Inc. reached an agreement with CNET Networks, Inc. to regain the URLs lost in the 2000 sale of Ziff Davis, Inc. to SoftBank Corp. a publicly traded Japanese media and technology company. CNET_sentence_26

In April 2001, CNET acquired TechRepublic Inc., which provides content for IT professionals from Gartner, Inc., for $23 million in cash and stock. CNET_sentence_27

On July 14, 2004, CNET announced that it would acquire Webshots, the leading photography website for $70 million ($60 million in cash, $10 million in deferred consideration), completing the acquisition that same month. CNET_sentence_28

In October 2007, they sold Webshots to American Greetings for $45 million. CNET_sentence_29

In August 2005, CNET acquired Metacritic, a review aggregation website, for an undisclosed amount. CNET_sentence_30

In December 2006, James Kim, an editor at CNET, died in the Oregon wilderness. CNET_sentence_31

CNET hosted a memorial show and podcasts dedicated to him. CNET_sentence_32

On March 1, 2007, CNET announced the public launch of BNET, a website targeted towards business managers. CNET_sentence_33

BNET had been running under beta status since 2005. CNET_sentence_34

On May 15, 2008 it was announced that CBS Corporation would buy CNET Networks for US$1.8 billion. CNET_sentence_35

On June 30, 2008, the acquisition was completed. CNET_sentence_36

Former CNET properties were managed under CBS Interactive at the time. CNET_sentence_37

CBS Interactive acquired many domain names originally created by CNET Networks, including,,,,,,,,,,, and CNET_sentence_38

It also held until CBS Radio was sold to Entercom in 2017. CNET_sentence_39

On September 19, 2013 CBS Interactive launched a Spanish language sister site under the name CNET en Español. CNET_sentence_40

It focuses on topics of relevance primarily to Spanish-speaking technology enthusiasts. CNET_sentence_41

The site offered a "new perspective" on technology and is under the leadership of managing editor Gabriel Sama. CNET_sentence_42

The site not only offered news and tutorials, but also had a rebust reviews section that It was led by . CNET_sentence_43

After Red Ventures' acquisition, the company announced the on November 11, 2020, leaving the largest tech site in Spanish in the US out of the market. CNET_sentence_44

In March 2014, CNET refreshed its site by merging with CNET UK and vowing to merge all editions of the agency into a unified agency. CNET_sentence_45

This merge brought many changes, foremost of which would be a new user interface and the renaming of CNET TV as CNET Video. CNET_sentence_46

On September 14, 2020, ViacomCBS announced that it would sell CNET to Red Ventures for $500 million. CNET_sentence_47

The transaction has been completed on October 30, 2020. CNET_sentence_48

Gamecenter CNET_section_3

CNET launched a website to cover video games, CNET Gamecenter, in the middle of 1996. CNET_sentence_49

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, it was "one of the first Web sites devoted to computer gaming news". CNET_sentence_50

It became a leading game-focused website; in 1999, PC Magazine named it one of the hundred-best websites in any field, alongside competitors IGN and GameSpot. CNET_sentence_51

According to Gamecenter head Michael Brown, the site received between 50,000 and 75,000 daily visitors by late 2000. CNET_sentence_52

In May 2000, CNET founded the Gamecenter Alliance network to bring Gamecenter and four partner websites, including Inside Mac Games, under one banner. CNET_sentence_53

Nielsen//NetRatings ranked Gamecenter the sixth-most-popular gaming website in the United States by mid-2000. CNET_sentence_54

On July 19, 2000, CNET made public its plan to buy Ziff-Davis and its ZDNet Internet business for $1.6 billion. CNET_sentence_55

Because ZDNet had partnered with SpotMedia—parent company of GameSpot—in late 1996, the acquisition brought both GameSpot and Gamecenter under CNET's ownership. CNET_sentence_56

Later that year, The New York Times described the two publications as the "Time and Newsweek of gaming sites". CNET_sentence_57

The paper reported that Gamecenter "seem[ed] to be thriving" amid the dot-com crash, with its revenue distributed across online advertising and an affiliate sales program with CNET's Game Shopper website, launched in late 1999. CNET_sentence_58

Following an almost $400 million loss at CNET as a result of the dot-com crash, the company ended the Gamecenter Alliance network in January 2001. CNET_sentence_59

On February 7, Gamecenter itself was closed in a redundancy reduction effort, as GameSpot was the more successful of the two sites. CNET_sentence_60

Around 190 jobs were cut from CNET during this period, including "at least 20" at Gamecenter, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. CNET_sentence_61

Discussing the situation, Tom Bramwell of Eurogamer reported, "It is thought[...] that very few if any of the website's staff will move sideways into jobs at GameSpot, now the company's other gaming asset." CNET_sentence_62

The Washington Post later noted that Gamecenter was among the "popular video-game news sites" to close in 2001, alongside Daily Radar. CNET_sentence_63

Malware infection in downloads CNET_section_4

With a catalog of more than 400,000 titles, the Downloads section of the website allows users to download popular software. CNET_sentence_64

CNET's provides Windows, Macintosh, and mobile software for download. CNET_sentence_65

CNET claims that this software is free of spyware, but independent sources have confirmed that this is not the case. CNET_sentence_66

While is overall a safe place to download programs, precautions should be taken before downloading from the site, as some downloads do contain malware. CNET_sentence_67

Dispute with Snap Technologies CNET_section_5

In 1998, CNET was sued by Snap Technologies, operators of the education service CollegeEdge, for trademark infringement relating to CNET's ownership of the domain name, due to Snap Technologies already owning a trademark on its name. CNET_sentence_68

In 2005, Google representatives refused to be interviewed by all CNET reporters for a year after CNET published Google's CEO Eric Schmidt's salary and named the neighborhood where he lives, as well as some of his hobbies and political donations. CNET_sentence_69

All the information had been gleaned from Google searches. CNET_sentence_70

On October 10, 2006, Shelby Bonnie resigned as chairman and CEO, in addition to two other executives, as a result of a stock options backdating scandal that occurred between 1996 and 2003. CNET_sentence_71

This would also cause the firm to restate its financial earnings over 1996 to 2003 for over $105 million in resulting expenses. CNET_sentence_72

The Securities and Exchange Commission later dropped an investigation into the practice. CNET_sentence_73

Neil Ashe was named as the new CEO. CNET_sentence_74

In 2011, CNET and CBS Interactive were sued by a coalition of artists (led by FilmOn founder Alki David) for copyright infringement by promoting the download of LimeWire, a popular peer to peer downloading software. CNET_sentence_75

Although the original suit was voluntarily dropped by Alki David, he vowed to sue at a later date to bring "expanded" action against CBS Interactive. CNET_sentence_76

In November 2011, another lawsuit against CBS Interactive was introduced, claiming that CNET and CBS Interactive knowingly distributed LimeWire, the file sharing software. CNET_sentence_77

Hopper controversy CNET_section_6

In January 2013, CNET named Dish Network's "Hopper with Sling" digital video recorder as a nominee for the CES "Best in Show" award (which is decided by CNET on behalf of its organizers), and named it the winner in a vote by the site's staff. CNET_sentence_78

However, CBS abruptly disqualified the Hopper, and vetoed the results because the company was in active litigation with Dish Network. CNET_sentence_79

CNET also announced that it could no longer review any product or service provided by companies that CBS are in litigation with (which also includes Aereo). CNET_sentence_80

The new vote subsequently gave the Best in Show award to the Razer Edge tablet instead. CNET_sentence_81

Dish Network's CEO Joe Clayton said that the company was "saddened that CNET's staff is being denied its editorial independence because of CBS' heavy-handed tactics." CNET_sentence_82

On January 14, 2013, editor-in-chief Lindsey Turrentine addressed the situation, stating that CNET's staff were in an "impossible" situation due to the conflict of interest posed by the situation, and promised that she would do everything within her power to prevent a similar incident from occurring again. CNET_sentence_83

The conflict also prompted one CNET senior writer, Greg Sandoval, to resign. CNET_sentence_84

The decision also drew the ire of staff from the Consumer Electronics Association, the organizers of CES; CEO Gary Shapiro criticized the decision in a USA Today op-ed column and a statement by the CEA, stating that "making television easier to watch is not against the law. CNET_sentence_85

It is simply pro-innovation and pro-consumer." CNET_sentence_86

Shapiro felt that the decision also hurt the confidence of CNET's readers and staff, "destroying its reputation for editorial integrity in an attempt to eliminate a new market competitor." CNET_sentence_87

As a result of the controversy and fearing damage to the show's brand, the CEA announced on January 31, 2013 that CNET will no longer decide the CES Best in Show award winner due to the interference of CBS (the position has been offered to other technology publications), and the "Best in Show" award was jointly awarded to both the Hopper with Sling and Razer Edge. CNET_sentence_88

Sections CNET_section_7

Reviews CNET_section_8


  • The reviews section of the site is the largest part of the site, and generates over 4,300 product and software reviews per year. The Reviews section also features Editors' Choice Awards, which recognize products that are particularly innovative and of the highest quality.CNET_item_0_0

News CNET_section_9


  • CNET News (formerly known as, launched in 1996, is a news website dedicated to technology. CNET News received the National Magazine Award for General Excellence Online. Content is created by both CNET and external media agencies as news articles and blogs.CNET_item_1_1

Video CNET_section_10

Main article: CNET Video CNET_sentence_89


  • CNET Video, formerly called CNET TV, is CNET's Internet video channel offering a selection of on-demand video content including video reviews, "first looks," and special features. CNET editors such as Brian Cooley, Jeff Bakalar, Bridget Carey, and Brian Tong host shows like Car Tech, The 404 Show, Quick Tips, CNET Top 5, Update, The Apple Byte, video prizefights, and others, as well as special reports and reviews. On April 12, 2007, CNET Video aired its first episode of CNET LIVE, hosted by Brian Cooley and Tom Merritt. The first episode featured Justin Kan of

How To CNET_section_11


  • Officially launched August 2011, How To is the learning area of CNET providing tutorials, guides, and tips for technology users.CNET_item_3_3

See also CNET_section_12


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